Real Pancakes!

I am reposting this post from my old blog!  I haven’t bought my Bisquick mix since I ran out.  I am very proud of myself.  I’ve added a bit of whole wheat flour to make them healthier and they were still yummy.

Tonight I ran out of pancake mix and was stuck with what to have for dinner.  I wish I was more of a planner, but I find it hard to do.  It’s definitely something I would love to learn to do every Sunday.  We love having breakfast for dinner and cook it about once a week.  I had never made pancakes from scratch, so I got on the Internet and looked up a recipe.  How easy is this?  I had no idea it would be so easy!  It probably took me 10 minutes longer than using the boxed version.  And part of those 10 minutes was spent cooking bacon.  They turned out delicious and my family didn’t say anything about the pancakes tasting funny and they didn’t appear to notice any difference.  So goodbye boxed pancakes, I’ve moved on to a healthier and cheaper alternative.  Now if I could only bottle my own maple syrup!  I wish I had taken a picture of my beautiful pancakes to capture this moment in time.  I even had on an apron so I wouldn’t spill flour on my work outfit.  I am a little homemaker tonight!

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    Here is the recipe I followed.  I should mention that I am not a “directions” type of person.  I tend to “estimate” rather than follow exact measurements.  I did follow most of this exactly though. Instead of white sugar I used organic (which looks brown).  This seemed to work just fine.  I also used more milk in my pancake batter.  It called for 1 1/4 cups of milk.  I probably used 1 1/2-2 cups.  I like my pancakes thinner than these were.  The last thing I changed was the vanilla.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. vanilla

3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1 1/2 cups milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Hmm, now what should we eat tomorrow night?  I’ve been wanting to try making my own granola bars.  It seems so simple.  That will be next on my list.  I’d love to stop buying so much processed food.  As Americans, we actually do well in the real, whole foods department compared to how many other families eat.  I just know that if we can start making even just a few of the foods we tend to  snack on, like granola bars, we’d be much healthier.

I should mention that my husband has stopped drinking soda!!!!!!!  Whoohoo!  I sure have been rubbing off on him in the health department.  He is also taking vitamins now, which he hasn’t done since I have known him (16 years).  These two things are HUGE.  He had a physical and the only thing his doctor was concerned about were his sugars.  So he actually listened to her and cut out what was contributing to a big portion of his sugars.  Now, to work on the multiple cups coffee with 2 teaspoons of sugar in it.  Ewww.  One step at a time……

Here is one of my reasons for changing the way our family eats.  My 20 month old son, Drew.  Here is very focused on playing with his cars.  I love this kid!  And he loved my homemade pancakes!

Keeping it clean on vacation

My family and I just returned from a week-long vacation to Vermont.  We stayed in a beautiful house shared by 5 families (my in-laws and their families).  It really was breathtaking.  Almost every bedroom had a view of the lake.

 

My family as you know eats pretty well, meaning organic and as healthy as possible.  We knew that going on vacation meant that we’d be letting the rules slide a bit so that we could eat with the rest of the family.  It was harder than that though.  My kids are 6 1/2, almost 5 and 21 months.  Their “cousins” were 15, 13 and 10.  They had a few things in their diets that we don’t normally touch: Gatorade, Fruit Loops, Tootsie Pops and juice.  We do give the kids juice, but usually 1 a day and it’s organic.  It was soooo hard to say no to the kids while the other kids were eating these snacks in front of them.  It was even harder to explain answers to their “why” questions in front of these other kids and/or their parents.  I didn’t want to be rude or stuck up by saying something to the effect of, “we don’t eat that type of food because it isn’t good for our bodies” or “that has too much sugar in it” or ” that has dye in it”.  How awful does that sound?  It’s like saying they don’t have good parents!  Or that their parents feed them food that isn’t good for them.  It was interesting to say the least. 

 

I was able to stay away from the Fruit Loops because of the dyes.  I just said, “no but you can have….”.  They ended up having a few Tootsie Pops with the other kids.  I also let my son, who is 4 and 3/4 try a few sips of clear Gatorade.  He liked it of course!  Oh and I bought my own Nitrate-free hot dogs even though we bought a whole container of regular hot dogs for the rest of the family.  I felt guilty but I had to do it.

 

As for myself, I ate as well as I could.  I had greens at almost every meal and drank lots of water.  I bought a green smoothie at the store and drank a bit every day.  It made me feel better about the over-eating during meals.  My body definitely felt a little “off”, but since being home it’s getting closer to normal.

 

The kids had crazy bedtimes on vacation, again because the older kids didn’t go to bed until much later.  Sometimes it ended up being 10pm before we got them to bed (the baby stayed pretty consistent though with a 6:30/7pm bedtime).  We have been home two days and already are on a much better schedule. 

 

There is no place like home.  It’s so good to be back.

 

Do you feel as if vacations send you spiraling into unhealthy eating? 

What are they feeding us?

Good morning!  I picked up some new reading material yesterday and dove in to, “What’s Eating Your Child?” by Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND last night.  I am loving it so far!  Eating “Real” is so easy and just makes so much sense.  Why would we eat all of that other crap (processed foods)?  I have been slowly getting rid of most processed foods, especially if they include dyes.  It is so amazing and disgusting that dyes are in most children’s foods!  We no longer eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese because it includes Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 in it.  Dyes have been linked to hyperactivity in children, allergies and even cancer!  Yet petroleum-derived artificial coloring is in most foods, from cereals, Popsicles, and even yogurt.  Why do we have to use dyes when there are foods that actually makes these colors.  They might not be as vibrant, but is it worth the risk?  Not in my opinion.  It’s hard to take my daughter to the grocery store because she just wants cereal that looks fun and yogurt that is neon blue.  I just can’t buy them for her.  I’ve been getting a lot of, “but my friends have those in their lunches”.  That one is so hard to answer.  I just say, “this one is healthier for you”.  I don’t want her going to schools saying, “my mom says that’s bad for you”.  Haha, I don’t want to go making enemies, but it’s just how I feel about food now.  The more I learn, the less I want them to eat.  Food needs to change!

 

I started a 30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge from Unconventional Kitchen, one of the blogs I follow. Here is the face book page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Unconventional-Kitchen/292893540764213?fref=ts .  Since I’ve already been drinking green smoothies daily, I am following the recipes as close as I can but I’ve already come to know what I like in my smoothies.   I’m excited to try some new ones though!

 

Since I have started drinking green smoothies in the morning, (which replaces breakfast) I have lost about 4 lbs. and my stomach is looking much better!  It’s only been a few weeks too.

 

Here is the smoothie I made this morning (pictured above):

 

I had to change the one in the challenge a bit.  It called for apple juice, but since I didn’t have any I used what I had.

 

2 handfuls of kale (no stalks)

3 ice cubes

1 1/2 frozen bananas

earth’s pride organics, orange, peach, mango juice (from BJ’s)

1 spoonful of Ground Fax Seed

1 spoonful of Chia Seed Protein Powder

A little honey for sweetness

 

I threw it all in together and it was very yummy and smooth.  My kids liked it (even though it wasn’t pink like they had wanted).  It tasted mostly like juice, but obviously so much better for you than juice.  I allow my kids one cup of juice a day.  The baby doesn’t drink any (unless it’s in a smoothie!).

 

Green Smoothie Ice Pops

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This is my little guy.  He’s a month away from being two.  In this picture he is eating a Green Smoothie Ice Pop!  For the last few months I have been making myself a green smoothie most mornings.  They are typically the same most mornings (yep once I find one I like I stick to it).  Here is my typical morning smoothie:

  1. A handful of greens (Kale, Spinach, and most recently Collard Greens).  Usually I buy them fresh and they go right into the blender from the fridge.  Occasionally I will use frozen if I don’t happen to have anything fresh.
  2. Almond Milk, plain and unsweetened to cut down on calories (the one I have now is Almond Breeze).
  3. Frozen fruit (usually a handful of pineapple.  Sometimes BJ’s Wholesale has a nice mix of pineapple, peaches, and grapes)
  4. A ripe banana (frozen or right from the fruit basket.
  5. Chia Protein Powder (approximately a tsp. or two), or Ground Flax Seed.
  6. Honey to sweeten

Green smoothies are so good for you and really don’t take long to make once you get used to the ingredients and what kinds you really like.  I often have a bit left in my blender that I hate to waste, so I started pouring the rest into Silicone Ice Pop Makers.  They look like this: J14A7615 blog

Drew had two for lunch today.  Who knew he’d pick the green smoothie over the peanut butter and jelly I also gave him.   I was so proud and felt so good he was having greens.  I will now be giving him these daily until he gets tired of them and then I’ll make him a new flavor.  These ice pop makers are great.  I’ve heard that you can also send a smoothie to school with your kids in these handy containers and by lunch the smoothie will be partially defrosted and ready to eat.  The only problem we ran into was that the pop would slip back down inside the silicone so that my son was unable to figure out how to keep it sticking out long enough to eat.  I solved the problem by bending the bottom of the pop and wrapping a produce elastic (the kind that comes wrapped around your asparagus) around the bottom.  This worked like a charm and he was happy with my solution.

How do you get your kids/babies to eat their greens?  I love hearing other parent’s ideas!

An organized kitchen – Step 2 – Kids Drawer

Last week I organized underneath my sink.  It has made such a difference.  I love being able to see exactly what is in there.  I am proud to say it still looks like my after picture.

This week I have been working on a few different areas of my kitchen.  It’s hard for me to just work on one when I have to move things from one cabinet to another to make room and organize.  I was focusing on the kid’s cabinet.  I wanted it to be a place the kids could go to be more independent and not have to grab a stool to *try to reach a cup or bowl.   My daughter is 6 1/2, my older son is 5 and my youngest son is almost 2.  They all love to be independent and they are really loving their new drawer.  Even the baby goes and gets me the top to his cup after he’s asked for milk.  So cute to see them all growing up (although I’ve shed a few tears over this as well).

I had a container in my pull-out drawer that kept all of my lids in place.  This is what the drawer looked like before:

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I know, not horrible, but the space wasn’t being used like I envisioned it.  The lids were really just sitting there collecting dust.  I took out all of the regular Tupperware and their lids out.

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I don’t use lids very often when I am cooking and when I do it’s usually on about 3 of them.  I decided to move the lids to one of my Lazy Susan to make room for more kid stuff.  I used that bin to keep cups and lids for my kid’s cups.  Now they can get their own drink of water without my help.  Yay!  The other bin is for bowls, plates, and Tupperware lids.  Also in this drawer are lunch containers.   My plan is for this to be the “lunch prep” drawer.  Everything you need to get that lunch packed.

This is what my new drawer looks like now:

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Then underneath this drawer is another pull-out drawer.  I kept this the same for now.  It’s where I keep my pots and pans.  I use most of them daily.  I may move the less used ones to another spot.

I used this organizing time to clean too.  I wiped down the bins and the bottom of the drawers for a fresh start.  It feels good to be clean and organized.  Now I have to get everyone on the same page as to where everything goes.  My husband has already been caught putting the kid’s cups back in the high “adult” cabinet when unloading the dishwasher.  Labeling might help…….

I am feeling more ready to school every day!

An Organized Kitchen – step 1

I am just switching my blog over so I thought my first post would be my last post over there: http//www.lovetolivelife.blogspot.com .  It is my first task to organize my house.

School is a month away and this year I have to get two kids on the school bus by roughly 8am.  I need to have a routine in place for packing lunches and the only way to do this is to get my kitchen organized.  I have realized I can’t do this all at once and I just don’t have the time.  So I plan to do it step by step in the next few weeks. 

I decided to start with under the sink.  This has always been a place for, well, everything!  Every time I needed something, I would open it up and something would fall out.  I’d search through the clutter until I found what I knew to be in there (somewhere) and shove everything back in and shut the door before something else jumped out.  Not an organized space to say the least. 

First I took everything out!  I had over a hundred plastic bags-big and small.  I only really use the small ones for trash baskets and stinky diapers.  I also had too many paper bags from the grocery store.  The bags really took up most of the cabinet.  I decided to keep only the small bags and a few paper bags.  Everything else went out with recycling.  Once I took them all out, I could see what else was in there.  I decided what I didn’t want to be in there and what needed to stay.  I had Ziploc bags of all sizes in there and I have to find a new spot for them.  They just didn’t belong. 

So what did I keep?  Dish soap, dishwasher pods, dishwasher spot remover, cleaning wipes, gloves, rags, baking soda, paper towels, Swiffer duster refills, Swiffer duster, dustpan and broom and kitchen trash can bags.  I decided for the space to be efficient  I’d need to stop there.  I felt better already.

I mounted a plastic bag dispenser (with the adhesive on the back of it-easy).  This took care of all the bag clutter.  I used two bins that I bought at Marshalls to hold the rest of the items.  I also hung up the Swiffer duster handle.  What a difference!  I feel organized every time I go to open up the door.  Ahhhhh. Freedom!   

 

Here is the reveal.  I am sorry I didn’t take a Before picture.  My camera was at work and I was way to motivated to stop myself………

 Hmmmm, now what area to tackle next.  I need a good place for baggies and Tupperware used to pack the kids lunches.  I’m going from packing one lunch to two.  I also try to pack my husband’s lunch, but he leaves for work at 6:30am.  It all depends what time the kids get me up.  I haven’t set my alarm since I had my first baby over 6 years ago.  Maybe this year I will start.  Then I could have my cup of coffee in peace before everyone else gets up.  Sounds good to me!

Can you feel how relaxed I am?  This is my first post of many that will show the progress I am making to get my house in order. 

~Katey